Saturday, May 12, 2012

A Mother's Day Note from an Imperfect Mom

Just a little Mother's Day thought......

When I found out I was pregnant I was not excited. I remember looking at my 20 year old husband, rocking in the Lazy Boy recliner and I had a hallucination. I looked at him and he was about 12 years old. His baseball cap was too big and his baggy pants were gathered at his ankles, far too long for his pre-teen body. I looked at "child him" and blurted "now I have to stay married to you FOREVER." "Wasn't that the plan when we got married?" He shot back accusingly. I guess I thought so. But I was 19 when we got married and not too skilled at thinking things through. He was my best friend, I loved him, I loved his family and I wanted to throw a party and see all the people I loved in one place. Babies were forever. Children were forever. Motherhood was FOREVER. My 21 year old self knew this much.

I was not excited when I found out I was pregnant, but I am not one who likes to be wrong. So I wore my pregnancy with the pride of a mommy-to-be who had been trying for a decade to reproduce. I subscribed to every baby email, read every baby book, formulated a birth plan at 3 months and wore maternity clothes at 4 weeks. I could tell you at any stage in my pregnancy whether our baby was the size of a grape, an apple, a cucumber or whatever fruit or veggie the computer told me. I registered for baby items and painted whimsical matching shelves. I pretended I was really excited so that people would think I planned this; so people would know I was happy and in complete control of my life. I vowed I would not let my life be a mistake. I vowed to become extraordinary.

My daughter was born, after an emergency c-section, which went against EVERY possible situation mapped out in my birth plan. The family gathered, with flowers and cameras, to hold the tiny bundle that would redefine my life. She was perfect in every newborn way, a perfect Apgar score and a latch on my sore nipple so advanced the lactation consultants gasped with delight. I liked this kid a lot, I thought, she was going to be an extraordinary child with a devoted, equally extraordinary mom. But I wasn't in love with her. I remember watching her pass between the arms of family. I remember the coos and smiles and the absolute adoration in her father's eyes as he changed her first poop. I remember being so glad that things were exactly what they were SUPPOSED to be. I was stubborn if nothing else, determined to make everything in her world perfect, not because I loved her, but because it was my job.

I took her home and never put her down. She nursed, she slept on me, I wore her around like an implant. And one day, I remember it as vividly as yesterday, we were sitting in that same Lazy Boy recliner, rocking, the sun was beaming through blinds and she had been sleeping in my arms for around an hour. I looked down at her and I knew I loved her. I cried as I held my heart in my arms, I cried because I knew I would love her even when she wasn't perfect and even when I wasn't perfect. I knew I would be everything in the world I could be for her, because that WAS my job, but my feelings were unconditional. I fell unconditionally in love for the first time that day. And I have been blessed every day since.

Happy Mother's Day to all mommas, and thank you my Aurorah, for making me a mom. You didn't just give me a purpose, you made my heart whole.

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